Joel and Diane Schatz have photos (circa 1927) of their Mill Valley, California, house that show a garden party in progress under a great canopy of wisteria, with guests in party hats posed against a backdrop of pampered rhododendrons, camellias, and holly. This is not how the place looked the first time the Schatzes saw it 75 years later.
“It was a wreck,” Mr. Schatz recalled the other day. The “lawn” consisted of hard-packed clay covered in cat droppings, the rhododendrons were strangled by overgrown vines, and the redwood house–subdivided into five apartments after World War II–was a mess. The Schatzes took one look and bought the place on the spot.
Photography by Marla Aufmuth.
For more Rehab Diaries, see:
- The story of a grand garden nearly destroyed by a mudslide, A Survivor: A Grand Seaside Garden in Tiburon.
- Rehab Diary: Jo Malone’s Fragrance Garden in Brooklyn.
- A Garden Transformed, in Eugene, OR.
N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published October 15, 2012 as part of our coverage of West Marin and Beyond.